Tag Archives: black

A Fancy Face With Drugstore Finds

21 May

Anyone who reads fashion magazines, glamour spreads, even blogs may wonder sometimes if any REALLY good makeup can be found at your local drug store. It can be very disheartening to see a killer shade of lipstick on a model in a magazine only to find out that one tube costs over $25. I remember when I was a teen, if I spent more than $5 on ANY makeup product, it was “high end”. Wow… times have changed. I decided to put aside the samples and products that I had gotten from some of the higher end beauty stores or at the cosmetic counter of my local exclusive department store to see if I could get a SLAMMIN’ look for a more reasonable price.

I went through my vanity to find things that I mainly use that could be close to or even equal in quality for less expensive products in my local drug store or retail store for the main products that I use. Now, let me state for the record — I have a TON of makeup. In fact, if I wasn’t involved in what I do as a writer, I’m sure an intervention would have been discussed. I can’t help it if I get products to test and try, get coupons for free items, and I get random products in the mail from brands that follow me on my social medias. But when I did some math in my head, I realized a lot of people don’t have access to many of the things I have. So, my quest began: could I get a great natural and/or glamour appearance with products from my local drugstore without breaking the bank? A full face—from foundation to lip gloss–for a high-quality, almost red-carpet look? Hmmm… Let’s see how I did…

Foundation: There are a ton out there, any glamourista knows that. The problem with foundations is that everyone wants something different from them. Some people need a formula for dry skin, one for oily skin, some like mineral liquids, and others like a powder foundation. Finding one really depends on what your skin type is like. We will just take my skin as a basis for this test. I have super sensitive skin (thank you, red hair) and can go from dry to oily in a matter of 24 hours. After being at The Makeup Show this past weekend, I kept hearing about professional makeup artists using NYX Cosmetics’s “Total Control Drop Foundation”. Okay, wait—these world famous MUAs who have access to ANY brand at ANY cost are picking a drugstore foundation to have in their cosmetic kits? I had to know why. I stopped by the brand booth at the show and talked to two fabulous brand representatives from NYX. They agreed—makeup artists from all over are carrying their Total Control Drop Foundation with them. Why? Well, I bought one to find out. I will say, it IS pretty awesome. It has a dropper so you can get just the amount you need without oversaturating your skin. It is light, buildable, and didn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all. Available in 24 shades, it wasn’t hard to find one that matched my very pale skin easily. I like the fact you can “add” things to it so your skin can get an even better look: a color adjuster, a mattifier or even a primer. I was super excited to find this product at The Makeup Show! A great deal for $14.

Setting Powder: Setting powders, for some of us “old schoolers” remind us about when they were skin-toned (not mine), turned into a shiny cookie from the talc, and gave us a nice orange glow. I was over that one fast. I just gave up on the powder thing for MANY years. Then… ta-da! I received a free sample of this new, high end HD powder. It wasn’t a pressed powder–it was loose. Not very easy to carry with me. Not to mention, it was white! Who wears white powder? After reading the details and practicing its application, I came to love it fast! It was translucent when applied to the skin and set my makeup perfectly. I bought a jar and, honestly, to this date, I still have it—it lasts forever! Then, about six months ago, I received an item in a monthly subscription box. It was NYX’s High Definition Finishing Powder. Yeah, there’s that NYX brand again! I put it on my vanity and let it set. One day, when laziness was at its max, I realized I needed an all over evenness to my skin and grabbed NYX’s powder since it was close by and tossed it in my purse to apply at work. Wow…was I amazed! A big brush swiped over the powder compact with a light dusting all over my makeup gave me a soft, flawless look. I was very surprised! I was even more surprised at the price. It ended up being 1/3 of the cost of my high end brand. And it did the same thing. Having this powder in a compact made it easier to carry with me as well. It has now become a staple in my purse. A fabulous price at $10.00

Blush: With my skin being very pale, I do not need a lot of blush to get a rosy hue to my cheeks. In fact, there are times when a pinch with my fingers right on my cheekbones gives me enough color for an hour or so. (That’s a nice trick to remember when your face needs a slight glow.) While I was flipping through a doctor’s office magazine, I saw this ad featuring a beautiful model with gorgeous cheeks. I was shocked when I saw what she had used… e.l.f. Blush in Fuchsia Fusion. I didn’t think this redhead could pull of a color like that but I wanted to try. Wow, I was surprised! I certainly did not need a lot of color, but the shade was gorgeous. Just a tiny sweep on my cheeks upwards was the perfect color I needed. Although it looks a little bold in the package, it gives me a healthy glow. And a little goes a long way. A great find for only $3

Eye Shadow: This is another personal preference. I know people who despise crayon colors, some who love loose mineral colors, and others who only wear natural colored pallets. In my career, I am busy and free time is limited. Because of that, I want—and need—an eye shadow that will last all day. Now me, specifically? I want a shadow that is glittery, shimmery and a long-time wear power. After seeing ads (and with a coupon in hand), I set out to get myself a L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow color. This easy to apply creamy shadow can be put on with your finger or even a tight brush (like a concealer brush) for more precise application. If you want to combine two or three shades, use a brush to get the colors you like then blend, blend, blend to get the look you want. Keeping it simple, I chose to get the color “Silver Sky”. I used my finger to dot, dot, dot then blend. I loved it! Yes, it wore all day. Yes, it was super water resistant. No, it did not crease. I was just what this busy girl needed! Over the years, I have managed to collect about 12 different shades that I like to wear alone or with other shades. When I wear L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow, I don’t stress when I can’t check it. I know it is fine. $8

Now there are your powder shadow girls. That’s okay too. I have about 12… or 70… different shades of loose mineral shadows. There are some very high quality pure mineral shadows on Etsy (like Notyce Beauty & Deviant Cosmetics) but in the stores, I’m pretty picky. A while back, while wandering around a discount store, I found a trio of colors that I loved. They had natural, soft, and subtle looks but I wanted something bold. I grabbed Wet ‘n Wild’s Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in “Spoiled Brat”. Since I don’t use many pressed eye colors, I was hesitant to invest a lot of money for just a few purse shadows. I could not, however, pass this trio up. Of course, other color combos were present and each trio had great shades of pressed shadows for just about anyone. Since loose minerals are hard to carry around with me, this pressed trio of shadows was perfect to give me a few fun colors at a fab price. $3

Mascara: Probably out of all makeup that is on the market, mascaras are the hardest for me to settle on. Every new one that comes out says it is better than the last. And I fall for it every time. There are also ones that I have loved that have just disappeared. UGH! I am often given mascaras to try from different brands to test and only a few times have I flat out not liked them. But there are also very few that I have loved enough to buy again. When it comes to drugstore mascaras, there are so many that I literally get overwhelmed when I go looking. I am not able to try any of those before buying and am afraid of getting something that will irritate my eyes or just doesn’t look good. I actually made a list of what I wanted with a mascara and what I didn’t then went on to various company websites to see if they had something close to my desires. After I chose my brush style, formula, color and longevity, I was able to narrow it down to three mascaras. The first one was difficult to find. It was out of stock in many stores. The second one seemed to do just about everything. I’ve been wearing it for a week and have had no eye irritation, smudging or difficulty in getting it all off at bedtime. It was not that expensive and I had a coupon too. Would I buy it again? Not sure… we’ll see. But am I wearing mainly now? Yes, yes I am. Every day. I like the results I am getting L’Oreal ParisVoluminous® Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara. A decent deal for $8

Eyeliner – Pencil: I am a child of the 80’s. Back then, your pencil eyeliner was awesome if you got it really sharp then heated it with a lighter. Looking back?…ugh, what was I thinking. Eyeliners have come really far since then. There are pencil liners that will stay strong on your waterline without having to melt them on. The problem is that most of them are super high end and are not cheap. One summer on vacation, I realized I left my pencil liner home. I got a little paranoid so I headed out to the nearest drug store to try and find something that could hold me over. Thanks to a recommendation from a customer, I decided to try NYX’s Slim Eye Pencil in Black Glitter. It was a little sparkly but not a ton, just enough. It sharpened easy, glided on without tugging and didn’t smudge at all. I liked it so much I went back and got a few other colors. I really like using the glitter liner on the waterline and then I nbetween the lashes with a thin line of the NYX Silver liner (or other bold color) underneath. A very chic look at a very reasonable price! $3.50

Eyeliner – Liquid: I have only been using liquid liner for a little over two years. It didn’t matter how many YouTube tutorials I read, the “winged liner” look wasn’t flying my way. Thanks to the help of a couple of my friends, I think I have finally achieved the look. It’s not always perfect and takes some time, but I can get there. The liquid liners that I first started practicing with were more than forgiving. I could make a small mistake and be able to fix it without much effort. The only bad thing was that usually meant that the liner didn’t stay as “crisp” as I wanted it to. If I wanted the winged liner look that day, I would have to use the liquid I had then go over it with a pencil or wet shadow. That didn’t always work so well. I was finally given some recommendations for a good pen liner but it was pretty steep in price. Especially since I wasn’t a pro at it. I tried it and was beyond thrilled with it, but that price made me wonder if there was any drugstore liquid liner with the same stay power. Fortunately I found one that was actually BETTER than the expensive pen I was using. Wet n Wild H2O Proof Liquid Eyeliner has a stay power like I have never seen before. It isn’t a pen (which is my only disappointment) but the applicator has a pen-shaped felt tip. It goes on smooth and gentle and stays ALL DAY! There is no crying or smudging or even wiping this off. Once it is on, it’s on! Now that has its disadvantages if you are a newbie to the liquid liner game. If you make a mistake, you need to fix it FAST or you will need to take it all off and start again. And to take it off completely takes the right products and a substantial amount of time. I find it is best if you give the applicator a blot on a tissue (hold it on an angle–don’t press the tip!) and go from there. That way you will have less product that can get unruly. You may even want to find a super thin, long handled brush to apply it with. (Instead of a makeup store, look for a good super-thin paintbrush at a craft store! Just make sure you clean it after each use so it won’t lose its shape. This gem is remarkably inexpensive for $4.

Lip liner: The main purpose of a lip liner is to keep your lip color from feathering into the fine lines around your lips. A good way to keep those lines from happening is to use your favorite eye cream around your lips morning and night. Eye cream is supposed to prevent you from getting lines around your eyes, right? So why not do the same thing for your lips. Find a lip liner pencil that isn’t too soft but that doesn’t tug when you apply it. I found that Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Liner was a great find for the cost. Available in 11 shades, this gem is perfect for giving you the perfect pout in a color that matches your lipstick or gloss. The long-wearing formula doesn’t transfer and can stay put for up to 8 hours. Not to mention, if you use a long wearing lip color, you want it to make sure it “stays in the lines” and a liner helps with just that. If you want, you can even use it as a long wearing lip color by itself by filling your lips completely with your favorite shade. And at its low price, you can pick all the colors that you love. $4

Lip Color: When it comes to an all over lip color, everyone has their personal preference to the kind they like. Some like pencils, others like regular lipsticks, many like liquid lip colors, some prefer stains. Whichever one you like best, you are sure to find something reasonably priced in your local drugstore. It might just be a case of trying different ones that give you the formula and colors you like. One little gem that I found is made by NYX called Epic Ink Lip Dye. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not really a “dye” or even a stain. It is more like a liquid lipstick that goes on smooth and lasts a long time without any transfer. The colors are bold and give you a “notice me!” look. There are 12 shades to choose from in the current collection and run about $7.

If you want something that is fairly long wearing but is more of a gloss with a good color, don't pass by L’Oreal Paris’s 8 HR Le Gloss. I've been wearing this gloss for well over five years now and it is still the one I grab when I want long lasting, creamy color that hydrates. Available in 20 shades that include mattes, frosts and shimmers, this stay-put gloss doesn't feather or fade. It is a bit sticky which is not appealing for some but for someone who has dry, chapped lips (like me) they may appreciate that kick of moisture. You can find that in your local drugstore for $10.

One other little goodie that I recently discovered is a neat Lip tint by e.l.f.. Don’t let the color in the package deter you. It actually changes colors with the chemistry of your lips. It is moisturizing because it is infused with shea butter to give your lips some great hydration. It comes in three hues and can be put on at any time … even without a mirror! I had originally gotten Perfect Pink when it first came out but I thought, for a redhead, it was a little too bright for me. Then they released Perfect Berry and I was thrilled! It gives me that nice, rich, shiny light burgundy hue that looks great on my lips and matches my hair. They also released it in Perfect Peach which I am sure would also look good especially to match an outfit with warmer or neutral colors. e.l.f. offers these “Perfect” lip tints for $6.

It can be difficult to select a makeup item from a drugstore simply from a magazine ad or even from a recommendation from a friend. Not everyone wants the same things so without being able to try it out for a while, it’s hard to know if it is the right product for you. I tell my readers to do their research: read online reviews about the product itself at their website, search online for public reviews, and try sites like Influenster that cover all kinds of products—makeup and more. Use these to make your decision but definitely ask the drugstore if you purchase it and find it is not the product for you that you can return it without a hassle. This should be able to narrow your choices down quite a bit and take the worry out of possibly losing money on a product that is not for you.

So Sassy wants to know… what is YOUR must-have drugstore makeup product? How long have you been using it? And of course, why do you keep buying it? I’d love to share your thoughts on your favorite products in a future article. Leave your comments below so I can do some research on the ones you love too!

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Define: “Steampunk”…

24 Jun

SteampunkCartoonSteampunk is…a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!” ― George Mann

From the Oxford dictionary:
steampunk
Pronunciation: /ˈstēmˌpəNGk/

1.1 A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction:
the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist.

I don’t think without a proper dictionary definition, the steampunk style could be understood. Even with the definition? It’s hard to process. Anyone directly in the alternative world of fashion and design may get it. But many on the outside looking in may be baffled. I tend to think of it like this: take a Harry Potter style, give it a punk edge with some designer style and you are on your way to a steampunk look.

Steampunk is definitely not front and center in the glamour & fashion world. In fact, it’s a little underground which makes it that much more eclectic and romantic. It is definitely built around the individual and each look is unique. No one goes into Macy’s and asks for the steampunk section of the store. But that doesn’t mean you can get a look there either.

As my fire-spinning evolves, so does my look. I find myself looking at things that I like, with an edgy flair, and a mystical aura. Do I still love my Manolos? Hell yeah. But you might find them next to a pair of worn black suede combat boots with wired taffeta laces. What can I say? Style is about individuality. That’s why I love this industry.

So you want to look at some steampunk inspired items? I happen to like these items when I’ve got the S-punk urge:

Makeup: Because steampunk is a genre which embraces individuality, no makeup look is right or wrong. There are a few things that can give your look more of an edge than a general look.
**Dark lips are always a plus. Heavy outlined lips, true red lip colors or black matte lipsticks or glosses are a nice look.
**Stenciled designs such as gears, feathers and scrolls around the eye/temple area is cool. You can also find temporary tattoos to give you this look. Enhance them with black or metallic liner for an extra pop.
**Dark gold or copper eyeshadow is a MUST! And the more sparkle and glitter, the better. Add a touch of glittery black liner for a deep look. A touch of the shadow in the middle of your bottom lip looks awesome too.
Sassy Likes: Eye Kandy Cosmetics Eye Kandy Glitter in Taffy (Copper Penny), $7.50; Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in “Outlaw”, $20.00 – Sephora

Clothes: Take a mixture of the Victorian era romance, elements from the Industrial Revolution from the 1800’s and a hint of the post-apocalyptic era and you may have an idea of what the general steampunk look is like. The key is individualism–wear what you feel comfortable in and feel it represents the style that reflects you. Key pieces to look for are long, flowing dresses, regal jackets and bodices, ruffled and/or lacy tops, unleveled hemmed skirts and more. I advise people to look at what other steampunk lovers wear and see what jumps out at them. Remember to try before you buy. What is good for some may not be good for you. Looking at styles presently in your closet may give you an idea of what types of s’punk clothes might interest you… if any! It may not be for you, but if it is, there are lots of places to shop. Start with your local thrift and consignment shops. You’d be surprised what treasures you may find there. You can even find a base and embellish it the way you want. If you are looking for something specific, there are several online stores that offer options such as SteampunkEmporium.com, pyramidcollection.com or my favorite rebelsmarket.com
Sassy Likes: Rebel’s Market Black Corset & Buckles Halter Top, $32.40; Belladonna Corset, $44.95 – goodgoth.com

 

Accessories: Your steampunk look most likely will never be ordinary but accessories can help take it to another level. These items can fall into categories that range from head to toe. They include hats, boots, jewelry and everything in between. When it comes to jewelry, the key thing to look for is bronze. Not necessarily the metal but the color! Necklaces and bracelets with old keys, buckles and chains are a perfect add-on. Chokers made of lace, velvet or leather accented with gems, gears, keys and locks are a pretty pick as well. Boots are a popular choice for footwear. All boot heights including knee high lace up, mid-calf with buckles or low Mary Janes are always popular. When it comes to shoes, dark colors of lace, velvet or leather look fab. And those cute mini hats are always cool if you can pull them off!
Sassy Likes: Necklaces from @Fishscalecreations on Etsy; UGG “Simmens” leather boots, $169.95 – Nordstrom; Steampunk Velvet Top Hat, $19.95 -yandy.com; Black leather metal studded fingerless gloves, $22.00 – rebelsmarket.com

Row

If punk is a little extreme for you ladies but still want to stand out from the crowd, see if the individuality of the steampunk genre is your cup of tea (or poison). If you would like to know more about the why’s, who’s and what’s, check out the links below to give you more information. And as always…. keep me posted on your finds, looks, styles and so on. I’d love to see and share!!

www.steamfashion.livejournal.com: This link gives you a LOT of information. What steampunk is, your individual style, plus it’s history. A great start.

www.pennlive.com: If you want to master a steampunk look or costume, this is a great tool. I love how it talks about the recycling aspect of the look. It doesn’t have to be new, especially since the theme is Victorian based anyways.

thesteampunkempire.com: I love the fact that this is a discussion group that addresses questions you might have. The contributors are people just like you and me that need answers too!

Enjoy and be Steamsavvy, Sassinistas!!
Stopwatch Fierce

Black is the New Black….

31 May

imageI think every makeup connoisseur has SOMETHING black in their cosmetic collection. If they don’t?…. they should. Nowadays, black goes beyond just mascara. If you go down the makeup aisle at your local drugstore or venture into your Sephora mecca, the items you see will most likely have a “shade” that is a form of black. What is nice is that you don’t have to be considered goth to wear black anymore. Black is back. Plain and simple. And black glamour is awesome.

There are a few things I have in my makeup go-to bag that are black and are MUST HAVES for me no matter where I go. I may not use them every day, but I need to know they are close by…just in case!

imageL’Oreal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow in “Eternal Black”: It is hard to believe when any makeup product refers to itself as “24hrs” but this one comes really darn close. This silky shadow comes in a little pot that you apply with your finger. The key is to just dot and blend QUICK! A little goes a long way. I like this shadow as a lid color when I want a bold look or a great smoky edge when using a pop of color. The glitter content is high but because of its great binders, it doesn’t crease or fallout. Don’t worry about hot days either–it’s waterproof and sweatproof! For an extra intense look, I will apply it along my bottom lash line with a flat-top brush. It is also available in 12 other bright colors. Sexy! (Available in most major drug and retail stores, $7.99)

imageUrban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in “Legend”: If you are like me, you love that dark, crisp black eye lined look on your lower lid. The problem? It only stays that way for a few hours. Grr. I actually found this product at Sephora when I did a search for a 24 hour pencil liner. In fact, it was the first one to pop up! I love the fact I can sharpen it myself to get a nice, crisp point on the pencil. It glides on with no tugging and yes…. it stays put all day! The black is a nice creamy, demi-matte shade that goes on easily and stays put. If you like the formula and its stay power, it comes in five other shades too! (Urban Decay, $20)

imageSenna Lash Detail Mascara: Over the years, I have tried a countless number of mascaras in different formulas and colors with all types of tubes and brushes. It is probably the one makeup item that I am the most fickle about. I really really like a few different ones I have tried, but to say I love them enough to throw out all of the others wouldn’t be possible. Not to mention, I have different mascaras for looks I want–natural, lush, evening, day, even for when I wear false eyelashes. The one thing that has been difficult for me, no matter which mascara I use, is being able to hit those teenie tiny lashes in the inner and outer corners of my eyes. The bigger brushes either can’t reach them or leave a clump of mascara or worse…a blob of black on my lid or side of my nose. When I attended The Makeup Show earlier this month, I was given a tube of Senna’s Lash Detail Mascara to try. Wow! Anyone that is very detailed about their makeup look needs this mascara, no questions asked! The “brush” is about as thin as a coffee stir straw. It gets in the corners without a problem and hits the bottom lashes from corner to outside without an issue while coating them with a “don’t move” formula. Whether you wear your own lashes with your favorite mascara or add false lashes for extra fullness & length, don’t forget the hidden lashes. Give them some love too. (Senna Cosmetics, $20)

imageDuo Brush-On Adhesive with Vitamins in Dark: Speaking of lashes, I can tell you I have been trying to master fake lashes for years. I either put them on too high, too far to the right, too far to the left, get glue everywhere but on the lid, you name it. Instead of fake lashes, I end up with a real disaster. If I do happen to get them close to normal, I always seem to have a small space between my own and the strip where you can see the skin tone of my lid, and getting a liner in between is virtually impossible. At The Makeup Show, the press was given a set of fake lashes to try. I liked the look of them in the package–soft, long, dark and full (but not too full). The lash glue was okay, but I still had issues with applying it neatly. On my next visit to my local drug store, I checked to see what other options there were in the fake lashes aisle. I saw all different kinds at all different prices with styles from natural to peacock feathers. Umm… wow. But then I saw something unique. They had this fake eyelash glue that was applied with a thin brush–similar to a thin eyeliner brush–that had an easy to apply, stay put adhesive. But what I really loved about it? It was dark…almost black! And when I put the lashes on, it looked like I had epic top liner on too! Two pluses in one product. The lashes stayed put ALL DAY with no smearing. This is JUST what I needed! (CVS, $6.49)

imageHard Candy Lip Gloss in “Black Rose”: I’m not so goth where I will wear straight-up black lip gloss or lipsticks, but I like to add a touch of midnight to a few of my favorite pencils and lip colors. Some of the products I have tried cannot be altered–just all-day black and only black. Personally, I like to wear a reds, dark wines or purples and add a thin black gloss over it for just a bit of an edge. So far, Hard Candy has been the only cosmetic company to offer that. Granted, it doesn’t have a long wear, but if you put it over a lip product with some serious stay power?… a touch up now and then it is well worth it especially since the gloss is seriously inexpensive! A great way to bring out your mysterious side with your regular colored lip products. (Walmart, $5.00)

I have talked before about how it is okay for you to embrace your inner goth even if you aren’t a teen anymore, but when it comes to black makeup items, you need something! You can be as edgy as you want with a touch of class without looking outrageous or out of place. If working with black makeup products is out of your element, take some time to practice till you are comfortable with the application and the look. You have a lot less room for error when creating a look with blacks than others so take your time and try different techniques. I don’t usually recommend this, but it might help to watch a couple of good YouTube videos for help or ideas. I can happily say that it won’t be long before this sassy redhead will be creating a YouTube channel to help you with many of the things I write about here! I am excited–I hope you will be too!
Roses

Mid-Life Goth Crisis

28 Jan

GothRedheadEveryone who knows me knows NOT to ask me my age. I am the first one to say, I will lie about the actual number ‘til the cows come home. I don’t look my age and I certainly don’t act my age…except for the occasional ache, pain and doctor appointment. With that being said, I grew up a huge fan of everything that pushed the limits of my generation. The makeup, the big hair, the fashions, the movies, the music. It was then that I fell in love with the “punk rock” movement. I wasn’t a huge follower of all the music that was out and evolving at that time, but I vividly remember listening to hits by The Clash, The Ramones, David Bowie (RIP), Adam Ant, Modern English and more. It was the clothing and all that went with it that drew me in. The fashions were awesome! I loved my leather jackets and miniskirts, lace tops, tight jeans, colored high heels with torn fishnet stockings, old rock t-shirts and heavy boots. The accessories of studded bracelets and chokers, some bright hair done in a unique non-mainstream style were beyond everything that I loved. It SCREAMED rebellious. My problem? My mother hated all of it. So I ended up wearing your basic honor student outfit then changed into a neon top, put on mega lipstick, melted on heavy black eyeliner and put in studded earrings before school. Then, like many other inverted rebels, I’d wash it off on the bus on the way home. I was bad and I liked it. Oh, those were the days….

Let’s fast forward to today. Even at this “stage” of my life, I like to be a little edgy. It keeps me feeling young. Although I think I am past the fishnets, tutus, leather pants (kind of), Doc Marten days—but never say never—I still like to keep my closet ranging from comfortably chic to eclectic nouveau. This past summer, I discovered a fun gathering of people who were different from many others I have ever known. They live for the day. They find joy in their own interests no matter how out there some may seem. They do what they have to do during the day but at night, they do what they want. And these friends? Well, they all have a mutual love & common bond: they love the art of spinning and performing with fire. And their fashions? I am pretty sure aren’t a top priority, but the variety each person has is striking! It is a combination of punk, Goth, individualism, comfort and performance…all in one. I will be honest, when I first met them, I was in awe. Not just at their outlook on life, attitudes towards tomorrow AND their performance talents but in their thoughts about what was awesome! They find happiness in the here and now. It is a no-judgement zone to be free with yourself and among your friends. To say the least? I felt at home. I felt I could be the “me” that had always wanted to be. And that was empowering!

After getting totally enthralled with my new adventures, I fell hook, line and sinker for my newly found interests and “freedom”. I went out and invested in an LED hula-hoop and two short fire staffs so I could play outside with fire with my friends during the summer and keep fit inside hooping when it was cold during the winter. I decided to bring out that edgy side of me that was suppressed as a teen. Managing a few days a week at the tattoo shop, you would think that should have allowed me to be expressive on the outside. Especially since that industry is a no-judgement zone as well. Sure, I could have gone wild with all types and styles of makeup, fashion and accessories that weren’t what a mature, “age unspecified” adult would normally wear. I did a little bit, but I was still afraid of being discriminated against with a “WTF?” conviction. Trust me, there could be outfits that might get me a second look from the grocery shopping moms at the market on a Monday morning. But you know what? With my newly discovered self-confidence, I didn’t care. That’s one thing my age does give me: GUTS. If I am going to take things one day at a time, I sure as hell want to do them my way.

My first mission was to embrace the clothes and makeup that were outside my norm. A little more edgy than usual. Darker, sexier, borderline “goth”. I absolutely love the dictionary.com’s definition of Goth: “a person of no refinement; barbarian”. SERIOUSLY? When does a tightly-laced corset and thigh-high boots make you a barbarian? Ugh. Listen, I will never deny I like my leather, I like my lace, and I swoon over rhinestones and studs. I like piercings, heavy necklaces and endless bracelets. I embrace tattoos, pride myself on stunning make-up and like my BOLD auburn hair that stands out in a crowd. If that makes me unrefined then I challenge Webster to a cup of tea and a “special” brownie to justify it!

You may be wondering: Is she going to change her ways? Is she diving off the deep end? No. Oh hell no! You can’t change me. I’m one of a kind, that’s for sure! I have always been and will continue to be a bit brassy, super sassy and fierce beyond flames. But can I embrace a slightly side of me that never really showed too much before that’s been laying kind of dormant? Oh HELL YEAH! And I plan on doing just that.

Let’s talk about my inner-goth, shall we? Black leather coats, combat boots, studded bracelets and choker necklaces. Rock t-shirts, big hoop earrings, bold makeup and wild hair. All of these things have ALWAYS been a part of me, but the older and more knowledgeable I become, the more I realize I can pull all of this off in a tasteful yet saucy, spunky, gritty way! Want to know how a mid-life crisis MILF goes “goth”? Check out some of the items that are helping me with that:

NYXGlossNYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in “Transylvania” – Right now, matte is all the rage. And I can see why. That smooth, sultry look that you can only get from flat, matte formulas are hot especially with eye shadows, lips and nails. I have always been a high gloss person till I tried this product. What’s great is they come so any colors. Dark colors too! REALLY DARK, like “Transylvania”. It is not a black because it has just a hint of purple in it. But when I put it on thick, it is deep! The matte formula stays bold longer and also doesn’t dry out my lips. A formula and color I love with a price that’s even better! Perfect. Ulta, $5.99

BetterThanSexToo Faced “Better Than Sex” Mascara – When mascaras all jumped on board with the little comb like plastic brushes, I thought I was in heaven. Something that coated each individual lash, keeping them separated. What we all want, right? Well…… eh, not so much. Even though I still used the random mascaras that I bought that promised me long, lush lashes I found myself going back to the old ways with a mascara that had a fluffy brush. The problem was that they were not easy to find anymore. And to look a little edgy, a little out there, you need thick, bold, black lashes. Coat after coat. THEN, I had a come-to-makeup-mecca moment. I went to one of my favorite makeup stores and got a free with purchase sample of Too Faced’s best products. In it was their epic eyeshadow primer, a cool as hell eye liner (we will get back to that), and a mini tube of the Better Than Sex mascara. When I first tried it, I wasn’t a big fan. I thought it was clumpy, thick and got everywhere. Blech. BUT then I realized if I gave the brush a quick wipe on a tissue, the amount left was perfect! I am still using the trial tube, but I went out and got a full sized tube. It isn’t waterproof but it is SUPER long wearing, has a rich color, helps curl the lashes and keeps them full and luscious. I can’t see me trying any other mascara for stunning, rocking lashes like these! Ulta, $22.00

TF LinerToo Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eye Liner in “Perfect Black” – Yes, this was also included in my little Too Faced goodie bag that was the gift with purchase at Ulta. I have a lot of favorite liners. Some are expensive and some are super cheap. This one, I have to say, is a little on the pricey side. But oh man, does it work! First, it needs to be sharpened which I love because I want my liners to have a tight, sharp line. Second, it is a gel-like formula so it goes on smooth without “skipping”. And lastly, it has a smudger on the opposite end if you want that smoky-eye look. This liner doesn’t move AT ALL! Even on my bottom waterline, it’s still there by day’s end. And when I want a deep, Goth look for my upper lid I just smudge it up and out for a smoldering look that will look all day and night. The pencil is a little longer than drugstore liners so you do get a bit more than usual. Ulta, $18.00

SallyNailsDark Nail Polish – Everyone tends to think black when thinking Goth colors, but when it comes to nails, you can do a variety of things. Today I am wearing flat white polish with black French tips. You can also do black polish with red hearts stenciled in. I like to wear black polish with a high silver sparkle on my ring finger. Be dark but different with you polish choices. You can still be stylish and chic without being a bubblegum pink perky. I like Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color in “Black to Black”, “Cinni-Snap” and “Grape Shifter”. Ulta, $4.99

GothAccessoriesAccessories – It is easy to find black tops, jeans, jackets, corsets in leather and lace but accessorizing your edgy outfits might be more of a challenge. I do a lot of shopping on EBay and Etsy when I am looking for something specific. There are also other specialty stores that you can browse through. I think when it comes to the general look I am seeking, I tend to look at chokers for necklaces; leather and spikes for bracelets and purses; big hoops or straight lines for earrings and anything else out of the ordinary. Don’t hesitate to look in thrift stores and consignment shops when it comes to finding unusual pieces. Someone else’s junk just might be your unique treasure. Look for these items and more at stores like Dolls Kill (dollskill.com), Rebel Circus (rebelcircus.com), and franchises like Plato’s Closet (my local one is Plato’s Closet in Schenectady NY). Rebel Circus and Plato’s are great to find out of the ordinary clothing too.

GothThriftClothes – I mentioned above about how to find some great pieces of clothing when you are feeling a little dark and rebellious. Sure, there are retail stores that entice people to buy different things for just that genre but it really isn’t about what it is…it’s about how it makes you feel. If you feel good in torn jeans, trying to wear leather pants isn’t going to allow the real you to come out. Try before you buy. And take a friend who gets it. When I first went looking for edgy clothes, I took one of my “burner” friends with me. Sometimes you hate an item on the rack and pass it right over. But if you bring a different set of eyes with you, they might lead you towards things you’d never give a second thought to. I tried on things WAY out of my usual comfort zone: graphic shirts, netting tops, cropped tees, torn jeans, dark leggings, and high boots. It was fun and gave me a bigger zone to look towards when shopping for clothes. Sure, I’m wearing jeans, combat boots, a flannel and a tee at my shop today, but if I decided to stop out to listen to a band and enjoy a drink with friends afterwards, I have something a little more extraordinary to slip into. For clothes like this? I look everywhere. Retail sale racks, thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets, going out of business events. Any place that you might not find the norm. Not only can you get some cool things but you can get them at a really inexpensive price!

As the weather begins to warm up around me (I hope?), I am looking more and more forward to unpacking my newer, more eccentric clothes that I had picked up last year and have been adding to ever since. Not to mention, I am using this down time to play with my makeup pallet—trying new looks, styles, colors and designs. Every outfit is a piece of canvas and everything from the fashions, accessories, makeup, hair, nails and more are the paint! And what is the message you want your piece of art to convey? Well, my Sassinistas…. that’s called your attitude. Go out, be you, and create your piece of art!!

I Spy, With My Little Eye, From The Loft….

11 Nov

RainyFallI’m sitting here at The Loft staring out the beautiful picture window, filled with grey fall clouds above and red brick on the building next door, darkened by the passed rain. As dreary as some might think it is, to me it’s beautiful. The colors blend beautifully with a darkened hue of autumn’s best. Even though I appreciate the vibrancy of it all, the fact still remains that I will be wearing the usual black and white fall-back colors to the tattoo shop for the day. My closet is filled with shades of the season and I’ll still dress like a newspaper. I’m so ashamed.

As I look at all of the colors outside on this cloudy, dismal day, I can’t help but think of some great quotes as well as some fabulous song lyrics that fit the view that I see. Songs and poems come to mind that flow beautifully even with the overcast sky above. It also reminds me that the sights and colors that may seem bleak to many are actually vibrant and bright in my glamour collection. This goes far beyond the colors in my 64 pack of Crayola crayons as well. There are hues that only Mother Nature can create. Nature’s beauty seriously takes my breath away.

With the ever-changing weather in my neck of the woods, let me give you a little insight into what I’m seeing outside my window today, and how it relates to the products that I am partial to when I see them. I’ll even throw in a nice quote or song lyric to make it a bit more fun:

WetRedLipstick* Wet Brick* – “The rain stains the brick a darker red” gives you a great visual. It is a line from a song by singer/song writer Ani DiFranco. It’s definitely not the most uplifting song, but it gives you images you can’t erase. Looking across the lot from my window shows me that color in all its glory. A dark, rich, warm red with almost a charcoal undertone with a feeling of gloom. That’s the color. Is it easy to find? Absolutely not. But is it beautiful to wear if you find it? Hell yeah. Especially in a lip color for the cooler seasons. Sassy’s find: Sephora’s Rouge Cream Lipstick in “Deep Brick Red”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

YellowNails*Yellow Maple Leaves *“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” ~ Pablo Picasso. Wow, that makes you think, doesn’t it? The lemon-painted growth has left its home on the tree and fallen to a beautiful death to cover the ground in magnificent colors. The blanket of yellow leaves on the grass outside of The Loft covers the greens of the grass with a vibrant shade of yellow. Although the day is dreary, the color of the leaves warms the land with its intensity. No matter what the sky is doing, you can’t help but smile. Sassy’s find: Formula X Liquid Crystals Nail Polish in “Highlighter”, $12.50. Sephora stores and Sephora.com

GreenShadow*Green Pine Trees*“…your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen.” That is from another great song, this one by Ed Sheeran. What a fabulous way to describe something that stays strong with time, never changing over the years. The intense, bold greens that give an earthly background to the other colors of the season create the perfect canvas to the bright shades pictured on it. This green is perfect for a smoky look with some color. Add a touch of glitter for a bit of pop. Sassy likes: Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in “Iggy”, $21.00. Sephora stores & Sephora.com

CloudShadow*Grey Fluffy Clouds*“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think this quote applies to so many things in life. Just when you think everything is going the same, it changes. Don’t get too comfortable on your path—you’ll see a detour soon enough. The same goes for fashion and for glamour. In fact, we have an entire WEEK—twice a year!—that tells us what changes are happening to the norm in this industry. And like the clouds that are outside my window right now, I’d be willing to bet they will change their shape, their color, their type, their size before I look outside at them again. A brilliant performance by a simple mass of condensed water, in colors from white to gray to black. Amazing! Sassy likes: Rimmel London’s Glam Eye Shadow Quad in “Smokey Noir”, $2.99. Ulta stores or Ulta.com

NYXGlitter*Shiny, Wet Pavement*“The road that leads to nowhere for others might just be the road that leads to somewhere for you!” ~ ildan. Wow, I can seriously relate to that one! Most people cringe when they realize they need to drive at night during a rainstorm. You can’t see the lines on the road, the pavement is blacker than black. This morning, the road outside the loft was still wet from the rain last night, but it had a slight shine and glimmer to it. A gothic gloom with a hint of glitz. Yeah, that works. It was definitely dark, even during the day. It was the kind of look I love in a good eyeliner. Especially one that can withstand water and rain–which is what I will be facing today. Sassy likes: NYX Slim Sparkle Eye Pencil in “Black Sparkle”, $3.49. Ulta stores and Ulta.com

This is a just a little taste of what life looked like outside of the window of The Loft this morning. It may not have been the brightest, most sunny of days but it still conveyed a mood, a feeling with its colors and contents. It is nice to look into my glamour drawer and see items that remind me of the beautiful things that can surround me every day or at any given time, no matter what the season. I encourage my readers to step outside of their box once in a while and look at products in shades that they may not normally wear but still look amazing. Just look around–if nature can capture the beauty of these colors and hues, why can’t you?

S.O.S. — I’ve “Hit Pan”!!!!

19 Apr

Running outIn the dark world of us makeup addicts, we often use a secret phrase: “I’ve hit pan.” This is a secret code us color junkies use to tell others that we have run out of a product we love. Usually us makeup lovers know when we are getting low on a fave and pick up a backup for a smooth transition when we run out. Of course, certain products we won’t stress too much about because, since makeup addicts are always trying new things, we may have already found a new love with a different brand of a former mainstay. But every glamour guru will have a few select items that are always–ALWAYS–around. And when we see the bottom, we tend to panic a bit. But we are professionals. We will fix it. And fast.

So, a few things started to get low–or worse–disappear this week in my makeup drawer. A couple I tried “alternatives” to, maybe to test the competition or save a buck or two. But the fact is that they are items I will be loyal to till someone says they aren’t around anymore. (*Gasp*–don’t even want to think about that!). Here is what I have/had to restock in my makeup drawer recently:

Lancome**Lancôme CILS Booster XL**: I never thought I needed a mascara primer…until I used a mascara primer! This was the first one I bought after a makeover day at a local department store. I bought it immediately. I used it only when I wanted really *POW!* lashes like for a night out or a dinner date. I started running low, plus it started to get some age on it, so I grabbed an inexpensive drugstore brand to see if I could save a few dollars with the same results. Yeah….no. The drugstore brand did nothing really–not like Lancôme’s did. It probably is the most expensive on the market, but you do get what you pay for. My lashes are longer, thicker, bolder when I use Booster XL. And it puts a nice barrier of Vitamin E between my lashes and mascara, keeping them healthy and preventing lash dry-out. Heading out tomorrow for a new tube! Macys.com, $25

Maybeline**Maybelline Fit Me® Shine-Free Foundation**: The weather here at home is (finally!) changing. Temperatures are changing and my j*o*b is throwing me a little stress. Let’s add a few hormone issues I’d prefer not to speak of, and the result is a skin texture and tone that is hard to work with. My winter moisture-packed foundation is too heavy; my powder mineral foundation is too light. So I dug out what I had put off to the side and found my Fit Me® foundation from last year. After using it just once this year, I knew it was now my go-to foundation for the season. After a week, I noticed my ‘swivel’ was tapped. I was at the end! Next day on my way to work, I made sure I stopped at my local drugstore to get another. My face looks smooth, natural, and the foundation controls oil, fading and streaking all day. I don’t have a lot of free time for makeup touch ups during the day–I want to do what I can to make sure my look stays put all day. This Maybelline foundation helps to make sure that happens! CVS, $8.99

Rimmel**Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Sparkling Black**: I did a whole eyeliner comparison last year–drugstores vs. department stores, waterproof vs. long wear, liquid vs. pencils. I think when it was all said and done, my go-to brand ended up being Rimmel’s Scandaleyes. The color variety was huge, the stay power was great, nothing smudged or ran ALL DAY, and oh–the price was EPIC. Even though I tend to always use black on my waterline with color underneath, I had began using the sparkling black because the hint of glitter softened the heavy black and gave it a nice glimmer. I ended up buying another one so I had two: one for home and a backup in the purse. Well, I switched them out when home’s got low and now sharpening is getting difficult again. So it’s time for a new full one–that kind, that brand, that color. Walmart, $3.97

image**Perfectly Posh’s The Daily Grind Body Coffee Scrub**: Okay, I have to be honest here. This is not the first time I have “hit pan” with this product. In fact? I think I’m probably on my 6th container of this little beauty. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a coffee fanatic. Then to find a natural bath product that does what I want with the feeling of bathing in an espresso is even better! The Daily Grind energizes skin and gets your blood pumping with a cup of coffee before you get out of the shower. It’s packed with the cleansing and rejuvenating properties of coffee, as well as clearing, anti-cellulite and energizing traits. This scrub cleanses as well as removes the dead skin cells keeping your skin soft, fresh and glowing. Oh, and did I mention it smells damn good? I don’t even want to think of this gem not ever being in my bathroom. I shudder at the thought. PerfectlyPosh.com or an Independent Represenative, $24

Simple**Simple Facial Wipes**: I will forever stand firm on something a friend told me years ago. I’m not sure if it’s true, but it was enough to scare the mascara off my eyes. “If you fall asleep with your makeup on, your face will age an extra six days.” Okay, ummm, NO! I’m fighting against time now and my age lying is getting pathetic even for me (although no one usually questions it.) I did a little reach on my own and did find articles that say not washing your face before bed WILL age your appearance. The good news? No one is sure how much. The bad news? Six days was the LOWEST number! Eeek! So, since then I try to remember to take off my face for the day with a nice gentle cleanser then treat it with a good serum. But, I will admit, I get tired, get upstairs in bed, then realize I forgot my bedtime facial. So, let’s just say I’m a bit lazy. If I’m in bed?…I’m in bed. I have phones, remotes, food, reading material and ice packs on a rough day. So, I figured if I can make sure I have a “stash” of goodies for lazy evenings, I can include skin care too. I have a little bag with skin care necessities: hand cream, cotton balls, mini eye makeup remover, trial sized night cream and eye cream, and my Simple Cleansing Wipes. They do the trick when I need to get the “crud” off and prepare myself for a night of cell rejuvenating. The formula doesn’t bother my sensitive skin, it gets off the toughest makeup, eye color, eyeliners and mascaras. They aren’t abrasive, they do the trick, they are easy to keep where I need them and they aren’t expensive. I have gone through two packs of Simple Wipes and a pack of a different brand. I went right back to Simple’s. They just did the trick–no fuss, no muss. And no more waiting…I need a new pack tomorrow! Walmart, $4.49

So that, my makeup beauties, is what it means to “hit pan”. I’ll be anxious to see if I find any other products this year that I will fall in love with, worthy enough to create chaos if I “hit pan”. I’ve tried a few new products recently: a new face wash, a perfume, new body cream, long wear mascara. Will any of them make themselves worthy to enter the “hit pan” elites? I don’t know yet, but I’ve got a lot of time ahead, a bunch of products to trial, and a whole lotta time to see what other items big named cosmetic companies come up with.. Let’s see if anything else in my makeup drawer becomes worthy to enter my “I hit pan” club soon!

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Sassy’s Sexy Six…

5 Mar

Six

Each month, I try to list six new things that I have found, tried, and liked. They may be something I will include in my daily routine, or they may just be something that I think is a good product but just not for me. Here are my six favorite things that I found in February that I think are pretty awesome and you might like as well:

Towelettes1) Garnier Sensitive Skin Towelettes I am a fan of many Garnier products, but when I saw this one, it really caught my eye. Not because it just removed waterproof mascara (which is very important to me) but also because that it was dye free, fragrance free AND made for sensitive skin! I like that they offer two different towelettes for different skin types. Heaven knows we ALL don’t have the same skin type, and the more specific the products I use on mine, the better. Keeping my fingers crossed that these will be a nice choice for a “clean face on the fly” situation. (Walmart, $4.97)

LeGloss2) L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Le Gloss Lip Gloss I am a lip gloss whore. I admit it. I will try anything new, and the shinier the better. I got a sample as a perk one month from L’Oreal and didn’t think too much of it. I just added it to the collection. But one day, I was in a bind for a nude gloss so I grabbed the L’Oreal sample of Nude Illusion. OMG, fell in love immediately! Yup, samples sell. I went out, coupons and deals in hand, and I got three more shades to cover just about every color scheme I own. The gloss is shiny, it’s consistency is thick, and it screams runway ready. And it has just a hint of butter cream scent/flavor which is fab. Just what I love–my kind of gloss! (CVS, $7.99)

BCBG3) BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Chic PerfumeI was really in the mood for a new scent to welcome in the new season that is quickly approaching, so I wanted something bold, sassy, fresh, sexy and alluring. I found all that and more from BCBG. Not only that, but for a limited time, Macy’s is offering a complete fragrance set with medium sized bottle of the perfume, a purse sized bottle, a shower gel and a body lotion, all for one low price. I always stress that layering your scent will help it last longer and keep the scent true. This set gives you everything to do just that. Oh and did I mention you just happen to get a large gold overnight bag as a free gift with purchase? Ah, yah…cha ching! Freebies=good! (Macy’s, $75)

BlackDiamonds4) Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No Chip Nail Color in Black DiamondsThe black polish thing is really growing on me. When done neat and precise, it’s very stunning. But I have to admit I’m a sparkly/frost polish kind of girl and most black polishes are just shiny black. When I found Sally Hansen’s diamond polish, it was exactly what I had been looking for. Straight up black with bling. I think it’s going to be perfect for pretty designs and funky looks, plus make people take a second look at my jazzy nails! (CVS, $4.99)

JuicyPants5) Juicy Couture Velour Track PantsAnyone who knows me knows I’m not a brand chaser. If it fits and looks nice, then it is for me. That goes from thrift store jeans right through to couture gowns. With that being said, I never was a huge fan of Juicy track attire because I actually thought you were just paying for the name and you could get something comparable at a less expensive retail store. Okay, that was until I got a scream of a coupon deal with Juicy that I couldn’t pass up. I had a code for an additional 70% off all sale merchandise. My first thought was to check out the velour pants since they are so known and chic. I found two pair, less than $30 each on sale with the code. I got them and they are awesome! The fit is great, they wash like a dream, hold their softness, and look fab. I doubt I’ll ever pay full price for a pair, but on a sale like that, I had to follow the trend! (JuicyCouture.com, $23)

CranberryJuice6) Cranberry JuiceNope, it’s not just for bladder infections anymore! (Sorry, bad female joke) As a redhead it is important for me to do whatever I need to in order to keep my hair its sexy shade of red and prevent premature fading. Cranberry juice does just that. Now remember, you can’t just buy a cheap store brand of some juice blend. You need to be specific here. You have to find 100% cranberry juice, unsweetened and not in a blend. Ingredients should be: cranberry juice, water. THAT’S IT! After I condition my hair in the shower, I let it set for a minute or two then take a small mist bottle full of the cranberry juice and cover the hair, lifting and spritzing. Massage the juice in with the conditioner and make sure all your hair is coated. Let sit a few more minutes then rinse THOROUGHLY! The natural color of the cranberries plus its abundance of vitamin C helps to brighten your hair, prevent breakage, and protect it from harsh environmental elements. Keeping those auburn locks shiny is major plus in my book! (R.W. Knudsen Just Cranberry Juice 32 oz., Walmart, $5.75)

So these are my six sexy finds in the past month. How about you? Have anything new you have bought or sampled that you weren’t expecting to like or buy? Show and tell, ladies! We want to know! Us females are always dying to dish about some new goodie or tricks that we just love to love. So share away!!